• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Mike Jay
  • Anne Miller
  • Jocelyn Campbell
stewards:
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • Pearl Sutton
gardeners:
  • James Freyr
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Daron Williams

Okay what is the QUICKEST natural building method?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 227
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Bethany,

I may or may not be understanding your questions, yet offer a few ideas...

It seems that your main question is WHAT IS THE QUICKEST WAY TO BUILD?

What is your budget amount for this first build of your home? Have you already shared that somewhere here in this thread I might have missed?

Also, whereabouts are you located? as those of us offering input can share with you would have to do with your climate and environment. Hot and humid, colder and wet? temperate. arid. tropical, oh my!

Are you building in an area with or without building codes?

I have been looking at many different types of building on the Internet for eight years. Like many folks, looking for the EASE and low cost of building.

So here are just a few ideas.

I do agree with others suggesting pole barn/timber frame with quick roof.

Yet there are other ways to build quickly, too. The metal SIPS panel homes can be built in a time frame ranging from hours to days.

HERE IS A WONDERFUL IDEA FOR a QUICK ENCLOSURE OVER YOUR TRAILER:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-homes/solar-trailer-home.aspx
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There is also now the Open Source Technology called UBUNTU BLOX

ubuntublox.com
Ubuntu BLox are building blocks made from plastic trash turned into block made with a manual block press, invented by Harvey Lacey in December of 2010.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A GEODESIC QUONSET DESIGN!

http://www.green-trust.org/products/

I purchased these plans from Steve Spence for future ideas.
The description and a FREE 13-PAGE PREVIEW are about half way down the Products page.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here is a page offering various SOLAR homes, passive ,etc.
some are kits/prefab
some are DIY

http://builditsolar.com/Projects/SolarHomes/constructionps.htm#Stack

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
FOr ease and speed of building, there are Steel SIPS panels which depending on which company you buy from already have their interior and exterior skins, which significantly shorten the building time.

Varying companies make these. You can find videos on Youtube
and the companies have websites.
One of these companies has hexagonal shaped pods which can be connected to expand on your home.The pods are fully contained with interior/exterior surfaces, etc.
worldhousingsolutions.com

I hope these ideas spark your imagination and creativity.

Please keep up informed what you and your husband decide to do. We look forward to learning from your experiences.
Blessings,
Max
 
Posts: 1125
Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
9
chicken dog hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
that reminds me of these japanese concrete domes i saw once, they come in LIGHTWEIGHT pie shaped pieces that fit togethor to form a dome, two people can build a home in one day easy...
 
Posts: 1113
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
57
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We built our masonry cottage in about two months with the work of two adults, two teens and a three year old. It's been wonderful to live in. It may not have been fast enough by some people's standards but it is very permanent and low maintenance. It is primarily local stone cemented together. e.g., stone, brick and concrete including the roof. Very green as it will last practically forever making it's environmental cost per unit of time nominal. It also only cost $7,000 to build and since it is small (252 sq-ft) the real estate taxes are nominal.

http://SugarMtnFarm.com/cottage
 
pollinator
Posts: 336
Location: Colville, WA Zone 5b
72
books goat homestead kids
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Max Hubbard wrote:Hi Bethany,

I may or may not be understanding your questions, yet offer a few ideas...

It seems that your main question is WHAT IS THE QUICKEST WAY TO BUILD?

What is your budget amount for this first build of your home? Have you already shared that somewhere here in this thread I might have missed?

Also, whereabouts are you located? as those of us offering input can share with you would have to do with your climate and environment. Hot and humid, colder and wet? temperate. arid. tropical, oh my!

Are you building in an area with or without building codes?

I have been looking at many different types of building on the Internet for eight years. Like many folks, looking for the EASE and low cost of building.

So here are just a few ideas.

I do agree with others suggesting pole barn/timber frame with quick roof.

Yet there are other ways to build quickly, too. The metal SIPS panel homes can be built in a time frame ranging from hours to days.

HERE IS A WONDERFUL IDEA FOR a QUICK ENCLOSURE OVER YOUR TRAILER:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-homes/solar-trailer-home.aspx
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There is also now the Open Source Technology called UBUNTU BLOX

ubuntublox.com
Ubuntu BLox are building blocks made from plastic trash turned into block made with a manual block press, invented by Harvey Lacey in December of 2010.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A GEODESIC QUONSET DESIGN!

http://www.green-trust.org/products/

I purchased these plans from Steve Spence for future ideas.
The description and a FREE 13-PAGE PREVIEW are about half way down the Products page.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here is a page offering various SOLAR homes, passive ,etc.
some are kits/prefab
some are DIY

http://builditsolar.com/Projects/SolarHomes/constructionps.htm#Stack

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
FOr ease and speed of building, there are Steel SIPS panels which depending on which company you buy from already have their interior and exterior skins, which significantly shorten the building time.

Varying companies make these. You can find videos on Youtube
and the companies have websites.
One of these companies has hexagonal shaped pods which can be connected to expand on your home.The pods are fully contained with interior/exterior surfaces, etc.
worldhousingsolutions.com

I hope these ideas spark your imagination and creativity.

Please keep up informed what you and your husband decide to do. We look forward to learning from your experiences.
Blessings,
Max



Okay so things actually changed a bit this week - my husband had a heart-to-heart with one of the upper management folks a few weeks ago at his job, not hoping for anything but kind of at his wit's end. To our surprise, the guy was so desperate to retain my husband as an employee that he worked on figuring this out every day and so we just found out they are moving us to the area of our property (about 90 minutes away) in 6 weeks!

Hurray! This means we keep benefits and the income of the job which is a very steady job.

But now that poses a problem. Truth is, my husband is only being realistic when he says he doesn't want to spend the winter living in a 1 bdrm travel trailer with three kids 6 & under and having to spend about three hours a day in traffic. We will probably rent a home in town that's about 15 minutes away from the property, so he'll still have the commute but that does change things a bit.

Rent will be quite a bit less than we pay now, and gas costs less there as well. The commute costs will actually be about on-par with his current commute, so while this will result in a reduction of cost of living it won't be AS drastic as if we could save the rent money.

In any case, I just got Oehler's book in the mail and devoured it... it's almost exactly what we had in mind for our home. I'm really leaning towards a combination of his underground method plus earthbag. I'm thinking the pole shoring for the back walls of the greenhouse, but something else for the main walls since we won't end up burying it until we're 100% done with all of the home (which might take a couple years).

Our house, simply stated, is a hobbit house. It will be a series of interconnected, bermed/buried roundhouses with a greenhouse behind the house dug into the hill. We'll start with ONE roundhouse, a 1 bdrm + loft deal, and will build with one part of a side using conventional construction so that we can remove that side and build another roundhouse on, and so forth. The plan is probably going to end up being two large roundhouses for kitchen/dining/living/office areas, a smaller one for kids bedrooms and homeschool/play area, and then another even smaller one for the master bedroom/bath.

Once we have all the roundhouses built we'll then enclose the greenhouse/garden area behind the house and roof it off with glass or corrugated plastic, and then bury it So, you can see how earthbag or strawbale would probably lend itself well to this design. The walls of the house themselves won't actually be buried, there will be a greenhouse behind them that will be, but it might be a year or two by the time we get to that point.

Anyway to answer your questions:

My main question, restated, is actually: What would be the fastest way to build for someone who wants an alternatively built home but is limited on time? Strawbale vs earthbag vs. superadobe vs. cob vs. concrete block, etc.

I'm getting the feeling from this thread that they are all about the same time-wise. Given that we'll still have a steady source of income, we might be able to hire some helpers though, but we don't have a LOT of money coming in. I do have my dad to help me so we can potentially get some good work done during the week, but he's only got energy for 2-3 hours of physical work per day.

Our budget will end up being between $10-20k depending on factors I can't predict at this point, not including the land and we can steal propane appliances from the trailer. We might be able to get a loan for some more if we need to but would definitely rather not go that route. We already have water with a solar well pump that is at the homesite, but will need to either pay to get grid electric hooked up or invest in off-grid options. The big sacrifices will be mine - washing machine & dishwasher, specifically, if we end up off-grid.

We will be located in the Inland NW, in the Spokane, WA area.

There are no building codes.

And thank you for those resources! That will help or sure.
 
pollinator
Posts: 516
Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well, you should have no problem finding poles or straw bales around Spokane.

You may be able to keep most of your modern electronic conveniences. For realistic off-the-grid ideas, have a look at http://www.backwoodshome.com. Try and overlook the philosophical and political dissonances with this site. A good idea is a good idea. Minus the right-wing diatribes, Backwoods Home is more what Mother Earth News used to be before it became gentrified. It can also give you insight into your survivalist neighbors' points of view.
 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1113
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
57
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
https://homepower.com/

is another good resource.
 
Posts: 104
Location: Southern Oregon
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Personally I would opt for a light clay-straw house. I took an intensive training with the EcoNest folks and they put up a good sized house (I believe around 1200sq ft) in about 2 weeks. That didn't include the footing or stem wall, but that did include the framing, packing the walls with light clay-straw, and framing up the whole roof. Granted that was with a volunteer crew of about 15 untrained workers, and a couple pros. If you had the finances available to keep things rolling I could see a conservative timeline that looks like this:

2 weeks-Footing prep and pour including excavation
2 weeks- Faswall stem wall stack and pour
2 to 3 weeks-framing sill plate and studs with a minimal crew of 2 or 3
1 to 2 weeks-packing studs using slip forms, with the use of a bobcat, mortar mixer and clay slip-straw tumbler, crew of 3 to 5
1 to 2 weeks-roof framing, depending on style. Less then a week if using pre-made trusses

The only down side with this building style is the drying out time of the walls, which averages 3 months in the summer. There is still plenty of work to be done during that time, you can still finish the inside; partition walls, plumbing/electrical, ceiling, cabinets, flooring, etc. You just have to wait on the interior end exterior plaster.

Another option which I ended up doing for a large addition I did on my house is to build entirely out of faswall blocks, which are a type of ICF made out of recycled wood that you pour concrete into. You dry stack them in lifts of 4 or 5 feet, pour, and then keep stacking, as high as you need to. People have done 2 and 3 story buildings out of it. Super quick, the only wait time is the time to allow the concrete to fully cure, which is maybe a month? You end up with a flat surface that accepts earthen plaster and yet is fully hygroscopic.
 
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
31
books chicken duck food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Peter DeJay wrote:The only down side with this building style is the drying out time of the walls, which averages 3 months in the summer. There is still plenty of work to be done during that time, you can still finish the inside; partition walls, plumbing/electrical, ceiling, cabinets, flooring, etc. You just have to wait on the interior end exterior plaster.

You end up with a flat surface that accepts earthen plaster and yet is fully hygroscopic.



A couple of things with slip straw or LSC are: 1 - it does not come close to standard insulation values, and in some climates this is an issue. 2 - the width and drying time. Even in Germany, where they invented the technique, they do not go past 12" wide and most times not even that thick. Because mold is a real issue.

Quote by Michael G. Smith (Cob Cottage, Alternative Building Techniques) Even with very light slip straw (not much clay and not much compression), you are only getting about R-1.5 per inch of thickness... perhaps slightly more. To make a mixture that will hold together in block form you need to add a lot more clay, and your R value probably declines to close to R-1 per inch.



I know where I live in Oregon this amount of insulation doesn't meet 'code' so I would have to go renegade to do it or..... use LSC and some 'other' insulation in addition to the LSC. I know I've wanted to use the waddle and dub or LSC for years, but after many talks with the writers of the Cob Cottage book they have shown me the wisdom (in the PNW) in using straw bales and cob.

Just my two cents, I still love LSC

---------------------------
Faswall blocks - FAQ: http://faswall.com/f-a-q/

For more reading on LSC's see this link http://www.greenhomebuilding.com/QandA/cob/strawclay.htm



 
Peter DeJay
Posts: 104
Location: Southern Oregon
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The insulation value of Light Straw Clay is anywhere from R-2 to R-3.3 per inch, unless you ask someone with a vested interest in downplaying its value. Fiberglas batt insulation is between 3.1 and 4.3 per inch, but the difference here is that a stud wall with batt insulation has thermal bridges every 16 to 24 inches, so the walls total or true R value drops significantly.

Drying is rarely ever an issue. Even with 12 inch walls, anything but temporary surface mold just does not happen unless you try to use this method in a swamp. Surface mold does show up, as well as sprouts, but once the the moisture is gone everything dries up and dies. Because the wall is hygroscopic moisture vapor doesn't get trapped, unlike virtually every single stick built house I've torn into. But its true, to some inexperienced, they see that superficial white mold and write off a building practice that has been in continuous use for many hundreds of years.

Light Straw Clay has been fully permitted in at least 10 homes I know of in Oregon, 4 just in my area. But of course if you ask someone who is trying to sell you on a technique that would be rivaled by said LSC, you will get information to support their claims. Its a shame that it has to be so divided. Cob and straw bale are fantastic building techniques. Light Straw Clay is the perfect marriage of the 2. Light Straw Clay perfectly fits the bill for the thread. Let the mud brothers unite!
 
Jami McBride
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
31
books chicken duck food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well Peter your entitled to your opinion, but then so are we all. I assure you the people I spoke with were not selling me anything, nor promoting or pushing one option over another. They were sharing their years of hands on experiences, and are comfortable using all the various forms of natural home building materials. Michael teaches LSC workshops, and has for years. I don't know where you got your idea anyone was favoring one method over another for any other reason than it makes better sense in a given situation.


I'd be interested in knowing where you get your information on LSC's R value?
 
Andrew Parker
pollinator
Posts: 516
Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You can review Design Coalition's LSC thermal testing results here:

http://www.designcoalition.org/articles/Lansing-LHJ/research/Ktesting2.htm

I would suggest reading the full report linked on that page.

sprouts and surface mold are normal. Here is a photo of wheat grass growing from a wall that is in the process of drying:

http://www.designcoalition.org/articles/Natural_LHJ/whtgrass.jpg

I don't know why someone would advocate against LSC in Oregon, but I suppose they have their reasons. It appears to have been used in much more severe environments with success. The issue may be one of experience and execution. LSC, like cob and straw bales and just about any other construction method, is only as good as the builder. I agree with Peter, that you should take an opinion on LSC, from someone who makes his/her primary living selling cob (I have read Smith's expert advice on straw-clay at Green Home Building), with more than a grain of salt. The same goes when comparing any product or service.

Comparing LSC to conventional batt insulation when comparing cob or straw bales to LSC just doesn't seem quite logical. What is the R-value of 14" of cob (abt. 7) v. 14" of encapsulated straw (from abt. 13 to abt. 33) v. 14"of LSC (from abt. 13 to abt. 25)? I don't have a preference for any of them, but I like to see logical arguments used when comparing/belittling them.
 
Jami McBride
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
31
books chicken duck food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I do too. And I really appreciate the link you provided, that's what I was hoping to see.

However I wasn't belittling LSC, just adding the info on the subject I have found in my research into it's use.

The information provided by the Michael and other professionals I've talk with is valid, although it may not always agree with my opinions or yours. I am not saying LSC is worthless or of no value. I am saying "here's some other stuff to consider". And in certain situations there could be other choices, like strawbale which was recommended to me, that would provide a faster build because it starts dry (no drying time or issues). Makes logical sense to me..... However, not everyone's needs for building are the same, even in the same climate. So it is logical to me that no one method is 'better' than another, but that there is the best fit for your needs/build, and each of us must determine what that is for ourselves.






 
Posts: 135
Location: Springdale, WA USA - Cold Mediterranean Climate
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've tried a number of different building technologies. My personal favorite is straw bale. It's fast, it is normally cheap, and is actually quite easy. The final results are also awesome when done right. My straw bale walls dominate our internal environment in a good way, even when we do crappy things with the rest of the building.
 
Gail Moore
Posts: 227
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The Vault shape lends itself to quick building. I admire many different shapes, and this is one of them. I even saw one on the Internet which was partially below grade with lots of good drainage around it.

Some folks have built really large vaults. Anyone could build a cluster of these, thus facilitating fast building and then adding on as time allows.

Scroll down for a version with an attached greenhouse. This brings in more light, also adds growing and living space.





http://www.rvgraphix.com/index2.htm
On this page, click on the SIDE JOBS button and scroll to the Straw Bale Vault they built. They pinned the bales with bamboo to make it stronger, and sprayed on the finish, instead of doing by hand. Rodney said that the spraying was done in one-third the time.

On this page, he also says that if you have the materials ready on site, that it might take two WEEKS or so to build a dwelling.


http://earthbagplans.wordpress.com/2009/03/12/strawbaleearthbag-vault-and-greenhouse/
Here is a plan by Owen Geiger for a hybrid straw bale and earth bag vault with a greenhouse attached. This looks pretty wonderful, and could possibly be built with quicker method than the earthbags in that area of the plan. Owen has said that these plans lend themselves to many different methods. Although the earthbags are used for thermal mass, rather than insulation.

Specifications: 490 sq. ft. interior plus 313 sq. ft. greenhouse, 1 bedroom, 1 bath, Footprint: 28′ x 39′

Description: This very unique home masterfully blends insulation and thermal mass. The vault is predominantly straw bales, which provide excellent insulation. Earthbags are used on the end walls, greenhouse and for three vaults that join the two spaces. Naturally bowed timbers around doors and windows create a rustic look.

In the comments on this same page, he said:
"My main intent for this design was to go beyond the simple SB vaults that have already been built and create a larger, more practical dwelling. I think I’ve succeeded. The greenhouse provides a valuable area for growing food, extra living space and bring in lots of extra daylight. (Other designs are a little dark inside.) The earthbags create a stronger design as well as add thermal mass."

Bamboo on both sides is tied every 18″ vertically to help hold everything together. The roof has 2×4 purlins set lengthwise every 24″ with metal roofing on top. Bales are coated with clay slip.


http://www.balewatch.com/vault.html

A link to a search for straw bale vault images
http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=straw+bale+vault&qs=n&form=QBIR&pq=straw+bale+vault&sc=1-16&sp=-1&sk=
 
Posts: 166
Location: Yucatan Puebla Ontario BC
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There is also a tree native to the southwest that is used for bungs that wood might be an on sight insulation. Naked Coral Tree (Erythrina corraloides). The beans of this tree can kill livestock.
 
Posts: 18
2
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Compressed Earth Block if you have an open source, automated Compressed Earth Block Press. https://vimeo.com/49864277. We aim to produce a construction set for the most replicated brick presses in the world.
 
and POOF! You're gone! But look, this tiny ad is still here:
2019 PDC for Scientists, Engineers, Educators and experienced Permies
https://permies.com/wiki/100059/PDC-Scientists-Engineers-Educators-experienced
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!